Deep Sky (NGC)

The New General Catalogue of deep sky objects was compiled in the 1880's by J.L.E. Dreyer, based on observations made by William Herschel and others. Many of the 7840 objects are just as obvious as Messier's, and, as can be seen below, make wonderful targets for astrophotographers. Other types of objects, such as Abell galaxy clusters, Barnard dark nebulae, etc will also make guest appearances on this page!

The Double Cluster (NGC 869 & 884) 21/09/02 - Maarten de Vries
The Double Cluster (NGC 869 & 884) 21/09/02 - Maarten de Vries

This image from the star clusters NGC 869 and NGC 884 (both known as the double cluster) was taken from Knockbain near Munlochy on 21 September 2002 using a Pentax K1000 at the prime focus of a Helios Star Travel 102 on a driven EQ3/2 mount using a 5 minute exposure on a Kodak 200 asa film.

Double Cluster & Muscleman 18/11/04 - Eric Walker
Double Cluster & Muscleman 18/11/04 - Eric Walker
I took this at 1940h UT on 18.11.04 using a Nikon Coolpix 5700 with settings 41.14sec, fl=71.2mm, f/4.2, ISO 200. The image quality setting was RAW so that I maximised the data within the image which I could work with.

The camera was piggy-backed to my scope and used a motorised drive to prevent star-trailing.

I also took a 50 second "darkframe" image and subtracted it from the original using Adobe Photoshop CS to remove any brightly coloured "hot pixels" and the "amp-in" area of the CCD. The darkframe corrected image was further processed using Adobe Photoshop CS and the stars and their colours have come out well.

The Double Cluster in Perseus consists of NGC 869 (upper cluster) and NGC 884 (lower cluster) to the right of this image. Following the chain of stars extending from the left of NGC 869 leads to the open cluster Stock 2 which forms an upright stick figure with flexed arms that is responsible for its nickname the Muscleman Cluster.
NGC 2903 12/11/03 - The Faulkes Telescope Team
NGC 2903 12/11/03 - The Faulkes Telescope Team

This is the first 'finished' image from the selection that were taken by the imaging team at the Going Nova event at Forres, Saturday 12th November. It was processed by Eric Walker using Adobe Photoshp CS with the FITS Liberator plug-in.

A stunning image of this face-on spiral galaxy in Leo. It is easy to make out the dust lanes in this image, taken using the remotely controlled 2m Faulkes Telescope North in Maui, Hawaii.
NGC 891 (Outer Limits Galaxy) 12/11/05 - The Faulkes Telescope Team
NGC 891 (Outer Limits Galaxy) 12/11/05 - The Faulkes Telescope Team

A beautiful edge-on spiral galaxy in Andromeda, NGC891 clearly shows its dust-lane in this image taken by the Faulkes telescope imaging team on Saturday 12th November. NGC891 is often overlooked as an observing object, due to nearby M31 being easier to find.

Final processing of the image was done by Eric Walker using Photoshop Cs and the FITS plug-in programme.
NGC 2392 (Eskimo Nebula) 02/2006 - Eric Walker
NGC 2392 (Eskimo Nebula) 02/2006 - Eric Walker
A magnitude 10 planetary nebula in the constellation of Gemini. Its appearance is often described as an Eskimo face surrounded by a Parka hood or as a Clown's face with the bright nose in the centre. South Park fans might recognise this as "Kenny"!

This image was taken from Conon Bridge using a Meade DSI Pro at prime focus on a Meade 8" SCT. LRGB settings and exposures - L: 12 x 8s, R: 11 x 11s, G: 7 x 11s, B: 16 x 11s and each saved as a FITS file. The FITS images were combined using FITS Liberator in Adobe Photoshop CS and processed to enhance the structures in the nebula.
Barnard's E  22/08/07 - Alan Tough
Barnard's E 22/08/07 - Alan Tough

The above image of B142/B143 (Barnard's E) in Aquila, which was taken on 22nd August 2007, is actually a stack of 3 x 150 Second exposures. Although the sky transparency was good, the seeing wasn't particularly brilliant and so a lot of processing had to be done on the individual images as well as on the final stacked image.

Equipment used: Canon EOS 300D, Sigma EX 150 mm APO lens, 1.4 x APO teleconverter, Vixen GP photo guider. Exposure details: 3 x 150 Seconds @ F/5, ISO-800.

Alan Tough
NGC 2023, 2024, IC 434 et al 28 thru 31/12/08 - Alan Tough
NGC 2023, 2024, IC 434 et al 28 thru 31/12/08 - Alan Tough

Alan took advantage of the clear, frosty nights at the end of December to image the Alnitak region of Orion. The final image reveals a smorgasbord of nebulae: Barnard 33, the Horshead Nebula, is silhouetted against the bright emission nebula IC 434; Next to 2nd-magnitude Alnitak is the emission-type Flame Nebula, NGC 2024, with its dark dust lanes; Close to the Horsehead is NGC 2023, an emission and reflection nebula. The multiple star Sigma Orionis is at the top-right corner of the image.

Imaging and guiding equipment: Sky-Watcher Evostar-Pro 80ED (f/7.5), Sky-Watcher Evostar-Pro 100ED (f/9), HEQ5 mount, Canon EOS 300D at prime focus, Astronomik CLS filter, StarShoot Autoguider, PHD guiding software.

Exposure details: The sub-frames were taken between 28 and 31 December 2008, giving a total exposure time of 2.5 hours. The average temperature during these sessions was -8 degrees Celsius. Processing time was in excess of 12 hours. Photoshop (with Noel Carboni's Astronomy Actions) and Neat Image were used to process the subs.
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